Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Oh, Those Lath Walls!

Recently, we repainted our bedroom. We have an older home, built in the late 20s and the walls were kind of a "Cafe Flesh" pink. They were a little tired looking and the lath had cracked in several places. We chose topaint the walls a dark gray and light tan for the woodwork. We kept the ceiling an off white. Prep was the hardest and took longer than painting it ourselves.

In the right kind of light I see imperfections in the repair of the cracks. I thought texturing over the cracks would do the trick, but I was wrong. Now I want to do a better job and learn how or have a professional do it, if I win the lottery.

I came across a interesting article a while back titled What's the difference between a great and not-so-great paint job? In it Jay Johnson explains the difference between a AAA paint job and a schmear job. The AAA paint job is the "Top of the Line painting, employing very professional crews, a lot of wall and trim prep before the paint is applied, and a very careful paint job."
The schmear or dab-on paint job that's done by a handyman or a day laborer to give a wall three coats of paint and pronounce the job "done." In an apartment, this is often accomplished "on the cheap" when tenants move out and you freshen up the place before the new tenants move in. We sometimes call the paint job "landlord issue" when white paint has been amateurishly applied to the walls of an apartment or new home.
The author writes about skim coating, which I see was an option for us or we could have used a taping system on the cracks.
Skim coating is a great way to make walls uniform in a room, particularly when you're mixing new drywall surfaces with existing, older walls. In skim coating, you take a fine plaster compound and you actually plaster the walls. The skim-coated wall surface feels cooler to the touch than sheetrock and it's smoother than bare sheetrock. It gets sanded between coats. It's very dusty to do this, but once the dust settles and the room is cleaned up, the paint is beautiful when applied.
If you click the link to skim coating there are a whole number of comments about whether skim coating is necessary.

I also came across a local Oregon man, Edwin Brown, who must have years of experience. He offers you the benefit of his experience on his website . Brown has skads of information for the DIY about cracks, fixing holes and sagging ceilings and how to fix them and how to do skim coating.

I'll know how to do those walls better now!

Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design gallery
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